Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez is less disappointed with not landing a title shot for his next fight than with the absence of an explanation as to why it is the case.
The unbeaten former super middleweight titlist has spent the better part of 2021 calling for a showdown with WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol. Both are fighting in December, though just not against one another despite Ramirez being led to believe such a fight would take place.
“I wanted to fight Bivol because he was calling me out,” Ramirez told BoxingScene.com. “He said he’s not scared to fight me. I don’t know what happened. I guess he is scared.”
After failing to shame Bivol (18-0, 11KOs) into such a fight, Ramirez (42-0, 28KOs) will now simply try to force his hand.
The 30-year-old southpaw from Mazatlan, Mexico will next face Yunieski Gonzalez (21-3, 17KOs)—a Cuban export and veteran fringe contender based out of Miami—atop a DAZN show December 18 from AT&T Center in San Antonio. The scheduled 12-round bout is a WBA light heavyweight title eliminator, with the winner guaranteed to next face the winner of the December 11 title fight between Bivol and Umar Salamov (26-1, 19KOs) in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
“I’m so happy. It’s an eliminator and will guarantee a title fight for me,” notes Ramirez, who fights for the second time under the Golden Boy banner since signing with the Los Angeles-based company earlier this year. “Not sure what happened, why Bivol didn’t take the fight. But now I have to take care of business and go get my belt.”
The fight will be the third in exactly one year for Ramirez after having previously sat out for more than 20 months due to a prior dispute with former promoter Top Rank. Ramirez made quick work of Sullivan Barrera in his previous outing, stopping the former title challenger inside of four rounds this past July 9 at Banc of America Stadium in Los Angeles. Despite a belt not being at stake for his next outing, maintaining that activity trumped waiting any longer than necessary for a title shot that clearly was not guaranteed to happen next.
“It was very important,” Ramirez said of getting one more fight in 2021. “I want to be more active, regardless of the opponent. I still want the title fight. Sooner or later, my time will come.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox